Op-Ed: Detention without trial — A lesson from World War II
If the name Jeffrey Hamm means nothing to you, his experience during World War II has striking parallels with the treatment meted out to those regarded as a danger to the state today.
Perhaps that last sentence should be rephrased to take account of chronology, whatever, it is a fact that self-professed fascist Jeffrey Hamm was treated shabbily by the British Government during World War II, even though there was no evidence that he had been or would be disloyal to Britain, and indeed his conduct shows he was anything but.
Jeffrey Hamm is the subject of an article by Jeffrey Wallder in the latest issue of Comrade
, the newsletter of the Friends of Oswald Mosley
There was undoubtedly a fifth column in Britain during the Second World War, and there is by the same token a genuine Islamist menace in Britain and throughout the West today. Indeed, this menace extends into the Islamic world, for it should never be forgotten that these fanatics have murdered far more of their fellow Moslems than they have Christians, Jews or followers of Richard Dawkins
. As with the earlier fifth column though, the extent if not the nature of this menace has been used to demonise a whole group of people, in particular those Moslems who like many non-Moslems are taking a stance against perpetual wars for perpetual peace
It has also been and is continuing to be used as a major pretext if not the
major pretext for the attack on civil liberties and indeed human rights in Britain, the USA, and elsewhere. Jeffrey Hamm first though.
According to Jeffrey Wallder, before the outbreak of World War II, Hamm was a low level member of the British Union of Fascists. There are no less than “seven bulging MI5 files” relating to Hamm held at Kew
which anyone - British or otherwise - can now peer into. In these files there is only one sheet of paper which predates the war, a document which mentions the fact that he was a BUF member, a piece of information that was gleaned from “an intercepted letter”.
Yes, our masters did spy on us before the advent of the Internet, and so did the police. Even so, Hamm was arrested and interned in June, 1940 while he was working in - of all places - the Falkland Islands
The reason for Hamm's arrest is that he was denounced by a woman named Joan Penn, who although a card carrying BUF member herself, decided to prove her loyalty to Britain, presumably before someone denounced her.
The bottom line is that the treatment meted out to Hamm was so outrageous that it turned this nominal fascist into a die hard enemy of the British state
, something he remained up until his death in 1994 at the age of 78.
On July 16, 1939, less than two months before the outbreak of World War II, Sir Oswald Mosley addressed a crowd at Earls Court where he made it clear the BUF's policy was to mind Britain's business
. He used unpleasant rhetoric, and his economic policies left much to be desired, but there is no doubt that with a will, the war could have been averted, and all the resulting horrors that were inflicted on countless people from Europe to Japan including around 50 million dead.
Because of this rather than from some fanciful idea that he would betray Britain to Nazi Germany, Mosley too was interned under the notorious Regulation 18b along with many of his supporters and followers. Mosley himself was released in November 1943 and spent the rest of the war under house arrest. Shameful though that was, there are men who have now been held without trial or even charge for three times longer than Mosley, and the end is still nowhere in sight.
Away from Camp Delta
, we have seen in the United States, entrapment operations by the FBI, so-called stings, which involve the use of agents provocateurs
to incite some none too bright Moslems to commit criminal acts. These operations have been so blatant that both Harold Covington - America's leading Nazi - and the New York Times
have commented on them
Then there are all the other shameful acts to which these so-called enemies of democracy have been subjected including secret prisons and actual torture.
The net result is that, coupled with increasing surveillance
and repressive laws, many people from moderate Moslems to those who live on the fringes of society or who have alternative lifestyles are coming increasingly - like Jeffrey Hamm - to see our governments as the enemy, rather than the terrorists - real and imagined. We and especially those who rule over us should ask is this what we want? One thing is certain, for all the increased surveillance and repressive laws that have been and are continuing to be foisted on the people, we are none of us any safer, and when the government itself becomes a tyranny, what will be left but for the people to take up arms against it? By then of course, it will be too late, because one way or another the terrorists will have won.